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Issue 45 - A world of difference

Whisky Magazine Issue 45
January 2005


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A world of difference

Of all the events that this job involves, the Best of the Best tasting is among my favourites.

Of all the events that this job involves, the Best of the Best tasting is among my favourites.

This is whisky at the coalface: an ambitious and logistically impressive affair that unites the world of whisky – literally – and really does celebrate all that is great about the spirit.

The Best of the Best takes the top 50 or 60 whiskies tasted in the magazine over the previous two years, assembles the leading producers, journalists and retailers to taste them blind, and picks the cream of the cream.

This year's event is even more ambitiousthan before, with a tasting in Dublin as well as Glasgow, Tokyo and Bardstown, Kentucky – and with the best qualifiers from these areas going through to a grand final in London before the results are announced at Whisky Live London in March.

In all about 100 tasters take part, and what makes it all so fascinating are the similarities and differences between the attitudes and opinions of tasters in different continents, or in the case of Scotland, within the different regions. This shouldn't come as a surprise, of course, because the diversity of whisky is what makes it so stimulating.

We thought, for instance, that our Irish tasters would be more at ease with bourbons than the tasters in Scotland traditionally are. But this wasn't the case – they didn't take to them at all. In Kentucky, however, our guests scored Irish whiskey in exactly the same order as the Irish had.

In Scotland our diehard Speyside aficionados were critical o...

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